What Really Happened That Night?

The friday-night party was just picking up and, as was the custom in the Nepalese royal family, the only people in attendance were royals: no bodyguards or servants were allowed. Crown Prince Dipendra, 29, offered to pour drinks. The Queen Mother was with her friends in the sitting room; the young crowd hung out around the bar and CD player in the billiards room. Dipendra, however, would quietly retire 45 minutes after the party began. When King Birendra arrived, in good humor and drinking a Coca-Cola, he was ready for some gossip. He was involved in chitchat about cholesterol and gout...

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